Kiln Creek Golf Club & Resort, Virginia … Top-Ranked Course But I Was Clearly Out-Ranked.

I have enjoyed the pleasure of playing a round of golf with a number of leading professionals including double Open winner Greg Norman,  former U.S. Open champ Graeme McDowell, past European No. 1 Robert Karlsson and a list of others.

Earlier this year, I was fortunate to join former R & A CEO, Peter Dawson in contesting the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open Pro-Am.

But I have to say in all my years playing golf I recently managed another first and that was to enjoy a game alongside a former Lt. Colonel with the U.S. Marine Corps.


Demetrius & Bernie on the 18th at Kiln Creek GC & Resort.

In his career, Lt. Colonel Demetrius Boldone served his country proud around the globe from Afghanistan and Iraq to Cuba and Central America and what an engaging 18 holes it proved to be on this sun-splashed morning at the Kiln Creek Golf Club & Resort course near Newport News in Virginia.

It was also very timely to visit Kiln Creek as it in the week prior Australian and nearby leading Virginia Beach PGA Tour resident, Marc Leishman led from start-to-finish to capture the BMW Championship at Conway Farms.

Leishman is famed in this region of Virginia where the James River and Chesapeake Bay meet the Atlantic Ocean.

Sunrise at Kiln Creek GC & Resort (Photo –

Kiln Creek GC – Sun rises over the 1st fairway. (Photo –

Kiln Creek Golf Club is located on the northern side of the James River and with the 18-hole course laid-out on 290 acres and having been purchased early in 2014 by the Villages of Kiln Creek Homeowners Association.

The 6,972 yard (off the Black Tees), par 72 layout was designed by the highly respected architect Tom Clark and opened for play in 1990.

Clark designed the course, and featuring the usual mix of four par 3s and four 5s, in and around on the wonderful tree-lined estate that also features some 13 lakes and where the water comes into play on seven holes and five of those on the front nine.

Kiln Creek GC – The morning sun makes a spectacular appearance over the 2nd green. (Photo –

The view into the 3rd green at Kiln Creek GC. (Photo –

Of all the holes, the par four eighth is the ‘picture postcard’ hole and guarded all done the right side by the largest lake on the course.

Clark did a decent job in designing the course with a variety of five tees so that the Ladies can play to 5,205 yards and then it is a progression from the Green tees at 5,774 yards to the White tees measuring 6,013 while off the Blue tees you face a challenge of 6,394-yards.

Playing off the Blues as we did, Demetrius and I found the longest hole to be the 522-yard par five, sixth hole rated No. 2 index and a slightly dog-leg tester with trees all the way down both sides of the fairway and a hole I faced having come off a birdie ‘2’ two holes earler at the par three, fourth hole that normally plays 152-yards off the Blue but on this day the tee was well forward to within 9-iron distance.

It was nice to walk off with a birdie at the picture postcard par three, 4th hole at Kiln Creek. (Photo –

The second of the par 5s at Kiln Creek here at the 6th and the longest on the course. (Photos –

In fact, the shortest of the par threes is the 149-yard 17th and also rated the No. 18 index hole but a very testing hole with a raised green and with the green guarded first in front by a bunker located at the foot of the rise that runs the width of the green and then for good measure there is a pot-like bunker right in front of the green.

The green is like an up-turned saucer and what you would find at Pinehurst No. 2 and venue a few years back for both men’s and women’s U.S. Opens.

Suffice to say, I made the ‘easiest’ hole on the course the hardest and had walked off the eighth, and deemed the ‘hardest’ with a three Stableford point-scoring par.

Kiln Creek GC – The par three 7th hole. (Photo

The ‘Signature’ hole at Kiln Creek GC – the par four 8th hole. (Photo –

Isn’t that what makes this game sometimes so crazy?

Kiln Creek’s No. 1 index hole is the 416-yard par four eighth hole and for reasons I mentioned above and from the Black and the Blue tees it is a carry over the water to the fairway.  Very much a risk-and-reward hole and the reward coming from how much you think you can ‘bite off’ with your drive.

The par 10th is really the last hole where water comes into play and a banana-shaped hole playing 349-yards and making it among the shortest of the par 4s.

Kiln Creek GC – Sunrise over the 10th hole. (Photo –

The well-guarded green at the par four 12th hole at Kiln Creek. (Photo –

The par four 12th hole is somewhat unique with the green guarded by a large U-shaped bunker across the end of the fairway and up both sides of the green, and much like the 17th Clark placed a basin-like bunker between the larger bunker and the green.

And in staying on the subject of greens, the 201-yard par three 14th hole is another that plays to an unturned saucer-like putting surface and with bunkers left and right front and one for good measure back left.

The 18th and final hole is challenging closing hole measuring 387-yards, and strangely the same length as the first, but a lot more challenging that the straight forward opener in that it is a dog-leg right hole making the drive important to set-up your shot into the green.

The No. 18th ranked hole at Kiln Creek but on this day the par three, 17trh proved a little more difficult. (Photo –

Kiln Creek GC – View into the 18th green. (Photo –

What you need to avoid is driving the ball long and straight as such a shot will land you in the treeline and no shot into the green.

And then in playing a glorious second shot to just inches from the flagstick (see photo) you have to avoid what Demetrius and that is not to play your opponents ball … Sorry Dementrius but then it was some shot and easily one of the best I had played for much of the day with my Callaway ‘Chrome’ (smiling as I type this).

Dementrius’ shot into the green goes so close to slam-dunking into the cup at the 18th.


Kiln Creek is a picturesque course, a course where a 15-handicapper can grab the odd birdie but also leave with a bunch of pars.  It is a course, and like any golf course, that also demands respect.

I enjoyed the challenge, the mix of holes, the touch of Pinehurst #2 in the greens, adored the fourth and eighth holes and very much thoroughly delighted in meeting and playing a round of Demetrius’ company as that made for the day.

I also have to extend a special thanks to Jeff White in the clubhouse and Ivey Hawkins, the Marketing Manager at Kiln Creek for so kindly arranging my visit.



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